Marco Ferrarese


Marco Ferrarese may be one of the last living and breathing travel writers who thinks that Instagram and ‘influence’ have really ruined what was the world’s last real picaresque profession. In response to that watering down of minds, he keeps chasing and writing unexpected stories in strange places which, for inasmuch as they sound like gonzo journalism, sure as hell are not. 

Based in Penang, Malaysia, since 2009, before the Covid-19 really kicked his arse, Marco travelled extensively to more than seventy countries and reported from places as diverse as Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, Latin America and the larger Southeast Asian region for the world’s most prominent international travel guidebooks and publications. Think Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Lonely Planet, the Guardian, BBC Travel, Rough Guides, Fodor’s Travel, DK Eyewitness and more. He’s currently a frequent contributing writer for Nikkei Asian Review, mostly covering life and arts in Muslim Southeast Asia and South Asia. 

Among other life achievements: In the footsteps of fellow countryman and homonymous nutcase, Marco Polo, in 2012 Marco hitchhiked from Singapore to Italy across Silk Road routes and the Middle East. His debut novel Nazi Goreng (2013) was a bestseller in Malaysia until it was banned by the government in 2015. Marco has also played guitar in Malaysian hardcore punk bands and written a book about it, Banana Punk Rawk Trails(2015). Some of his short form narrative travel stories are collected in The Travels of Marco Yolo: Blazing Trails where Marco Polo Feared to Go (2016). Marco has a PhD in subcultural anthropology from Monash University Malaysia.

Marco and his Malaysian photographer wife Kit Yeng still call Penang home, even though they used to be on the road reporting from elsewhere most of the time. He is now concentrating on growing his successful travel and lifestyle blog on Penang and northwestern Malaysia – Penang Insider – and an independent, inspirational travel guide – Monkey Rock World. 

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Marco Ferrarese